Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard in New York

Have returned to New York last evening and was very lucky to have made it all the way home, notwithstanding the bad winter blizzard that has paralyzed the city and all its transportation.

I was apprehensive in leaving Tirana, which was enjoying 60F temperature, although soaked by torrential rain, because I was concerned about my plane connections in Vienna and Frankfurt. Most of Europe has been badly affected by an unusually early, cold, and snowy winter, but, I did not expect a worst situation upon returning to New York.

The departure from Germany was only delayed 40 minutes to perform the de-icing of the plane, and the transatlantic flight was very smooth until we reached NY, where we had to reduce speed and circle around JFK airport for an hour.

After landing safely in zero visibility, the problem was to get from the airport to the city. Transportation was lacking and the line of passengers waiting for the occasional taxi that would show up, was extremely long. It was cold to stand on the covered sidewalk, where the wind blowing at 50 miles per hour was engulfing everyone in swirling snow.

I cannot believe how lucky I was to hitch a ride in a private van with a couple other foreigners, and not to get hurt when I skidded getting out of the car and...landed sitting on 2 feet of snow in front of my building! From the plane arrival to my home it took about 4 hours!

NY airports were closed last night and the trains also stopped running. This morning some people here in the city are still stuck inside public transportation since last evening.

New York City has been completely silent for over 12 hours, and only now the noise of snow blowers is being heard......I have seen similar bad storms in this city a few times over past decades, but this was the first time that I was experiencing one in the midst of traveling home from abroad.

Happy New Year everyone!

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